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How to diagnose repeated freezing of windows 7 (comes back alive in few seconds)

I have a borrowed HP nx9420 laptop, running Windows 7 Pro, no SP. Very regularly, maybe every minute or twice a minute, the whole machine very briefly freezes, and then resumes normal operation. The frequency of this varies, depending on what I'm doing, but is always at least once in two minutes, but never more frequent than twice in one minute. The time span the machine remains frozen is about 1 second.

How can I go about tracing what is executing or crashing regularly? I'm hoping for something easier than disabling all running apps and services one by one, like an app that will log whatever starts up frequently or something like that.

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Event viewer is your friend! Look for any errors in the System and Application Event log files which coincide with your freezes :) –  HaydnWVN Jan 6 '12 at 12:39
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marked as duplicate by Moab, Sathya Jan 10 '12 at 6:17

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There could be N number of reasons for the performance hits. Like a slow performing anti virus software, virus/malware attacks, slow HDD, low RAM etc. If it's the processor usage, you can check with process explorer/task manager who's eating up the CPU and consuming more memory. Process monitor is a nice tool if you can make use of it properly. Also revise your installed programs. Windows website has neatly described some tips here

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First, observe the disk light. If the pauses are related to high disk intensity that a separate situation from high CPU.

Do Ctrl/ALt/Del and select "Start Task Manager". This will get you to a page where you can see which tasks are busy, with some CPU and disk statistics. Upgrading your task manager to "Process Explorer" (provided free by Microsoft) will give you even more information.

High disk activity on a laptop is often due to Microsoft's disk indexing, which many folks turn off for this reason. Antivirus activity is another potential cause -- some antivirus packages are exceptionally intrusive in how they scan.

And, of course, some sort of malware is always a possibility (though most malware makes an effort to hide itself and hence avoids slowing the system).

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